Steve Alford was worried that UCLA would let its guard down to UC Riverside.
The Bruins came out and immediately alleviated any of Alford’s concern about the men’s basketball team’s focus with a 42-27 lead over the Highlanders at halftime.
UCLA charged out to a commanding 17-3 run behind the aggressive play of junior center Thomas Welsh. He scored eight of the Bruins’ first 13 points, finishing with 10 points and eight rebounds at the half.
Freshman guard Lonzo Ball only took one shot – on a fastbreak dunk –but picked up five assists. Three UCLA players scored in double figures – junior guard Isaac Hamilton with 12, freshman forward TJ Leaf with 10 and Welsh with 10.
Even with the shots falling easily, the Bruins took care of things on the defensive end. UCLA held UC Riverside to just 27 percent shooting from the field and 27.3 percent from long range.